Late-week betting action isn’t the best approach if long-term profitability is the goal. Game spreads and totals become increasingly sharp moving closer to kickoff, which is why betting game lines early in the week is the best approach.
If betting early in the week isn’t an option, then targeting other markets where lines aren’t stale is key. Beating these markets takes a different approach than those focused solely on the game lines. We can take cues from bookmakers pricing the entire portfolio of offerings on a particular matchup. They arrive at the most likely path the game will travel and then use market dynamics to sharpen the number. In some way, game lines feed derivatives, player props and most other offerings under that matchup umbrella.
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We can start by seeing if there are any game lines we disagree with and utilize a couple of different approaches if so.
Mispriced scenarios should have even worse mispricing further downstream as errors compound. If the game line is only subtly off, it's smart to find where its errors are the most drastic.
Week 14 continued our trend downward, as we finished 0-2 on the weekend. After a hot start to the 2021 season, we've turned cold over the past four weeks. This article's betting record moved to 9-22 on the season and dropped into the red, as we are now down -3.81 units on the season.
It’s time to get right using the approaches above, let's get back on track and find the best last-minute NFL bets ahead of Week 15.
After a lookahead line had the Bengals as three-point favorites, bettors started piling onto the Broncos‘ side, pushing this spread to -2.5 points. This looks like a clear overreaction to one week’s worth of data, as the Bengals are the better team in PFF’s power ranking metrics.
Joe Burrow is, by far, the best quarterback in this contest after posting the best PFF passing grade from a clean pocket this season. Besides the quarterback position, the Bengals grade better in every offensive category outside of pass blocking. Defensively, both teams are similar, as both rank in the bottom half of the NFL in PFF’s opponent-adjusted grades. Buying into the Bengals on the plus-priced moneyline looks like one of the best opportunities on Sunday.
PFF’s betting model also shows value on the point total, as the PFF Forecast identified the over as its lock of the week. This matchup has the fifth-lowest point total in Week 15, which doesn’t fully capture how low it actually is. Totals, in general, have taken a nosedive throughout the 2021 season, as this week's mean total for all games is the lowest of the season — four points lower than the season-high and at least one point below every other week.
At a macro level, betting overs in Week 15 might be one of the best opportunities to do so this season. Buying when others are selling is often the best time to make money in any market, and no betting market has seen more correction than pregame totals. With everything pointing toward the over in this matchup, parlaying both legs mentioned offers an enticing +339 payout at Caesars sportsbook.
Pick: Bengals Moneyline and Over 44 Total Points (+339 Caesars)